Emma Stokes in conversation during the WCPT Congress in Singapore

Having a global conversation is doing physical therapy the world of good

By Emma Stokes, WCPT President

The response to our WCPT Look Forward Together consultation for the strategic plan has been brilliant. There have been around 3,000 responses to our online polls so far.

We’ve carried out in-depth interviews with a cross section of member organisations, who have been very generous with their time. And we’ve spoken to other organisations to get a sense of what people think of us from the outside. And it’s been fantastic because we’re hearing voices from all over the world.

But there’s still more to do. Our third poll ends at the end of this week, and then next week we’ll be issuing a more in-depth survey particularly aimed at WCPT member organisations, subgroups and networks but also welcoming input from individual physical therapists around the world. 
The WCPT Executive Board has looked at the preliminary information from the polls and the in-depth information from our interviews, and taken a first cut for the strategic plan – bouncing around thoughts about where we want to go, what our messages might sound like, how things might look and feel in a few years’ time. 
We had two great sessions discussing this at our Executive Board meeting last week, facilitated by Annie Hedge, the consultant working with us on this project.
We came up with the outline of four emerging themes, which provide a core idea of WCPT’s vision and role. The four themes are:
• WCPT’s role in supporting the sense of global PT community
• WCPT’s role in knowledge transformation and thought leadership
• WCPT’s role in influencing global policy
• WCPT’s role in promoting the expertise of PT in movement.
You can hear me talking a bit more around these themes in the video below.
So this and the information we have gained from all our discussions, conversations and polls will now feed into next week’s survey. It will provide the opportunity for new and detailed input and will inform the next iteration of our plan.  Every stage will provide a clearer vision for WCPT, and a better idea of what it means in practice. The process will draw to a conclusion at the end of January next year, when we aim to have a full strategic plan signed off. 
The key to all our thinking is: WCPT is a great organisation – so where and how does it get better at what it’s doing?
The process of consultation has been really important in itself. There is a fabulous core of volunteers, a community of physical therapists globally, who want to tell us what they think we should be doing – and help us to do it. Our member organisations are amazing, so it’s important that each one of them feels there is a value in being part of WCPT. 
That’s not an easy task because WCPT is such a diverse community of organisations. But I have no doubt that physical therapy as a whole is going to be stronger as a result of this consultation and the strategic plan. And if the profession of physical therapy is strong, then the people and communities that we serve will be getting higher quality services that can help transform their lives.
What do you think? Look out for our survey next week, and please do take the time to complete it and let us know.